Musings:When I left them behind!

By Prabhjot Singh

Certain decisions in life are hard, especially those that take away part of you or your memories. Until a few months ago, I could never imagine that I would ever be without them. But now they are gone, gone forever.

Life may not be same again. Good or bad, they were cynosure of all eyes. Family members, relatives, friends and even acquittances would often bombard me with a volley of questions soliciting response over my reluctance to get rid of them. Perhaps they feared the worst as they had been growing and in the last couple of years had become obnoxiously big and glaring.

They are not doing me any damage or harm. Why should I get rid of them?

Growing pressures forced me to take opinion of the experts. Walking into a hospital with Omicron pandemic at its peak, I felt little panicky and uneasy.  Thought of getting attention of Paramedics, nurses and doctors in their PPEs with all SOPs being meticulously followed inside the Hospital virtually froze me. Intriguingly, I did not witness or experience any of these.

After a couple of visits, my confidence was somewhat restored as appointments for blood work and CT scan were organized. The man to take away those two vital parts of my body was none other than a world class surgeon, Dr Dale H. Brown, Professor of Otolaryngology, at University Health Network, Toronto General Hospital.

The initial reports suggested that because of their obnoxious size, they could be a source of serious medical complications at any stage. Prima facie, they looked benign, and I was left with a choice to either continue to live with them at a risk of getting my food or windpipe choked few years down the line or get on with lifelong medication by getting them removed.

The invasive procedure was not without risks as the chances of losing four more similar but smaller glands (parathyroids) or getting the voice temporarily impaired were there. 

Major surgery during the prevalent vulnerable medical conditions with continuous inflow of Corona positive patients was frightening. After considerable thought and consultation with family, brothers and friends, decision was to take the plunge.

Prior to the complicated invasive procedure, blood work was to be done. Since the number of Omicron cases were spiraling, the government started tightening the controls.  It was announced that a day after my scheduled surgery, the invasive procedures would be put on a hold to make room for serious Omicron patients.

Since the Blood work could not be undertaken as the laboratory was closed, my worries started mounting as next day was my admission and surgery.  I was tested for Covid and MRSA and asked to report at surgical admission unit next morning as scheduled.

At the pre-operative room, almost all members of the operative team visited me to brief me about their role. Dr Brown too came to cheer me up saying surgery could last about six hours and may follow two to three nights stay in the ward.

Late in the afternoon on waking up I found myself in the recovery ward with a message that the surgery went very well and the minute parathyroids were saved. The nerves to vocal cords were also safe.

I had pipes hanging down on either side of my neck. They were to drain the surgical waste. Three days later while returning home I was thinking I had left something behind. My looks had changed to the great delight of family, relatives, and friends.